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Ear trumpet, London, England, 1850-1900

The ivory ear tip sat inside the ear canal. The ear trumpet amplified sounds down the tube. The ear trumpet is a type of parabolic reflector. This device projects energy onto a focal point, in this case the ear drum, through refraction and reflection. This enables the ear trumpet to be an effective hearing aid while remaining relatively small. This silver-plated example was made by F. C. Rein and Son in London. The firm was founded in 1800. It was the first company known to manufacture hearing aids commercially.

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Glossary: deafness

A condition where the hearing in both ears in not functional to ordinary levels.

Glossary: ear trumpet

A funnel-shaped instrument for people with hearing difficulties. The trumpet is designed to gather sound waves and direct them into the ear canal. The short end of the funnel was held to the ear by the user, and the large end directed toward the sound.